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Sustainable urban mobility benchmarking

Published: | Category: Guidance for specialists , Research & reports | Audiences: Communities, Local & regional government, Motorists, Road controlling authorities, Walkers & cyclists

This report outlines how our urban centres compare on their journeys toward delivering a low carbon, safe and healthy urban mobility environment.

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: 14 April 2022


We want our towns and cities to continue to thrive and be places where people can move around independently, in ways that are good for their health and the environment.

To pave the way for healthy, safe, and vibrant cities we need to understand what stage each town and city is currently at on their journey to transition to an actively mobile transport network.

This is achieved through the Sustainable Urban Mobility benchmarking process. This well-established best practise approach connects the dots from policy to campaign and allows us to create impactful and lasting solutions that are fit-for-purpose.

Each council is at different stages, but everyone is progressing and by measuring the same things we can see progress while also identifying gaps and starting to close them.

We used this process for the first time in 2021, and we will adapt and change but it is an exciting collective step forward. 

It converts assumptions to evidence, so we can start getting a fair representation of the many voices and communities that live in our towns and cities, and their varying needs.

We’re starting with a benchmark of our larger cities, but any town or city can learn from the process and the things that are important to measure.

Sustainable Urban Mobility explained

Sustainable Urban Mobility (SUM) refers to transport and systems of transport planning that are sustainable across social, climate and environmental outcomes. In Aotearoa New Zealand, this is largely (but not limited to) walking, cycling and public transport.

Sustainable Urban Mobility benchmarking explained

Sustainable Urban Mobility benchmarking is a collection of measures that are common across councils. These indicators are important because they lead to significant outcomes for our communities – health, environment, connectedness and safety.

Benchmarking is best practice

Benchmarking is commonly used around the world to help ‘connect the dots’ from policy to campaign level – with great results. For example, the Dutch Cycle Balance, the London Cycling Benchmarking Project, the EU’s Velo Info and here in Aotearoa New Zealand we have Yardstick – a well-used benchmarking for our parks management.

This is the first year of an exploratory process

We’re on a journey – and there is room to adapt and change. That’s what will lead us to create impactful and lasting solutions that are fit-for-purpose.

There will be gaps – and they’re important

Gaps are inevitable. We need to know where the gaps are in order to improve. The benchmarking process is an opportunity to identify these gaps and start to close them.

We’re at different stages, but we’re all progressing

We must recognise the inherent differences between councils. Each council will be at a different stage and face unique challenges. Councils know their networks and communities best, so that’s how things should stay. What matters is that we all progress towards achieving the right outcomes.

Download report

Sustainable urban mobility benchmarking report [PDF, 3.4 MB]